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Central Asia's Chief Rabbi In Bid To Save Synagogue

(RFE/RL) DUSHANBE, May 19, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The chief rabbi of Central Asia and Tajikistan, Abe David Gurevich, met today with city officials in Dushanbe in a bid to convince them to reverse plans to destroy or remove the city's only synagogue.

Valery Davydov, the leader of Dushanbe's Jewish community, told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that Gurevich, who is based in Uzbekistan, is also seeking a meeting with President Imomali Rakhmonov or one of his close aides.

Davydov said that Dushanbe's mayor, Mahmadsaid Ubaidullaev, had promised Gurevich "they will not destroy the old synagogue until we build a new one."

The city authorities want to clear the site of the 100-year-old synagogue to expand the nearby presidential palace.

Reports suggest Tajik officials have proposed an alternative location for the synagogue. However, Jewish community leaders say no firm offer has been made and that, in any case, they are adamantly opposed to the destruction of the synagogue.

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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